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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  February 13, 2014 7:30pm-8:01pm EST

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hi, i'm lisa fletcher, and you are in "the stream." we'll break down the tra trans-pacific partnership tonight. ♪ our digital producer wajahat ali is here bringing in all of your live feedback. this trade agreement while like some of the others is also quite different in that it's very brood and much of it has been crafted in secret. >> yeah, that seems to be the
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trigger for most of our community members. they think everyone would care if they knew about it . . . and lisa a lot of people are wondering whether this would really help american workers and jobs. >> that's a question we'll ask. it is a massive trade agreement between 12 countries and the us. it is much more than a free trade deal. it has the potential to impact
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everything from how we use the internet and pay for prescription drugs to food safety and the environment. it's controversial because most negotiations happen in secret. not even members of congress have seen a draft of the complete text. digital activists, as well as many others have some deep concerns, fuelled by wikileaks and others. globally protesters say the deal give industry stakeholders a seat at the tail while those who advocate for the public are left out not just in the u.s. but around the world. so why all the secrecy? and how exactly will this deal effect us every day? joining us to sort this out, we're joined by the international campaigns director for public citizens global trade
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watch. the author of a forthcoming book about the trans-pacific agreement. and joshua is a fellow at the brookings institution and adjunct professor. thanks everyone for joining us. so melinda what makes the trans-pacific partnership different? >> the north america free trade agreement, what we're talking about the trans-pacific is nafta on steroids. it expands trade agreements much beyond what we typically think
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of as a trade agreement, setting tariffs and quotas for goods, but expands it into a whole range of other issues as you mentioned earlier, of how we interact with the internet, how we -- the price of our medicines and so forth. so it's a massive expansion, packaged as a trade agreement, but it's so much more than that. >> why do you think those crafting this agreement feel this agreement needs to be so much more than what it would traditionally be? >> i think that's a great question, and i think the main point about this is that it is way beyond a normal trade agreement -- it has about 24 or 25 chapters in it. of those chapters only 4 or 5 deal with trade. it is designed to set the rules for the next phase in global trade, and the main point is the rules -- are going to be set by somebody else, and there is a worry that maybe that would be
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up and coming countries like china. the u.s. has the highest standards, and right now it is resisting demands from canada to scrap some regulations on logging and environmental controls, so theist is in the odd situation of sometimes being blasted by people who are saying that it goes too far, like the canadians, and by others who say that it isn't protecting the environmental standards. in my view it's doing a first rate job, but it has a lot of problems. >> our community acknowledges the huge scale. but again they are worried about the secrecy.
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speaking about labbyist, check out my page. here is a list of advisors who have been allowed access to the agreement. and myra going to you with that, look, congress has a constitutional right to have access to look over all trade agreements. most of congress is in the dark. the public is in the dark. but 605 corporate insiders have had the full text. why so much secrecy here? >> proopponents will say it's a trade agreement, and trade agreements have always been secret. but clearly as melinda has said it is more than that. it covers copyright policy. and those issues are trying to be reformed the united states, and australia is going through a major copyright review, and
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we're trying to set in a stone of like of these cowhich right provisions that are clearly in flux. and many of those trade advisory committees want it to remain secret. >> joshua i'm not sure that secrecy in in and of itself is the rub here, because most free trade agreements are done primarily behind closed doors. i think what is really getting people's attention is the number of industry lobbyists who had access. do you have any reason why? >> i think that's being played out in the sense that there are definitely trade advisory committees who have access to the negotiations, but they are not actually lobbyists. the administration has been very clear that lobbyists aren't going to have access. a lot of them are corporate,
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because a lot of this has to do with trade, which at the end of the day is being conducted by companies who have a particular interest and expertise in how that works. so i think it needs to be understanding that there is an expertise that you would want the government to listen to. >> but wouldn't you want expertise on both sides? it seems as though -- judging from the opponents there hasn't been a balance -- >> let me jump in on that -- >> hang on. >> there absolutely has not been a balance. there are 600 corporate advisors and a small handful of any -- of representatives of labor or consumer and the environment. it's a tiny -- it's a tiny fraction, and even those -- those people aren't allowed to share what they know about the text -- they can't share it with their constituencies because it's not allowed, and -- well, it's against the law for them to do
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that, and so what we have been arguing for a long time is we can't actively provide a real public debate if we don't see what the texts are. and there are many experts and people who know about regulation and public health, environment, that need to have -- have a voice at that table, and we have been calling for that for years, and there is a precedent for making these types of negotiations open. in 2003, there was a free trade agreement of the americas, that at this stage the entire text was published on the web. and that was the bush administration. bush one. and the obama administration with an open government of platform has not been willing to do that. >> bernard make it quick because we have a break. >> it is simply not the case that members of congress can't
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see the text. any member of the senate or congress can read any of the text -- >> that was after -- i will say that that was after three years of screaming at ustr, there were 131 members of the house who were not able to see it, senator widen was not able to see it, and he introduced a bill to say he should have the right to see it, now they can see it, but they can't have cleared staff, or take notes or tell anyone what they have seen. so many -- >> i think we're getting a red herring here. we're hearing only about the complains. we're not hearing about what this arrangement can do. it will cover tens of millions of customers. it will raise living standards, improve markets, it will make it possible for pharmaceuticals to
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be developed and dealt with for developed countries at lower prices -- >> bernard that is something i want to talk much more deeply about. and we're going to do that after the break. we'll come back and talk about the most controversial parts of the agreement like bernard just mentioned. so we'll get back into that with all of those specifics in two minutes.
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♪ ttp is being negotiated in secret through a series of back room deals that shut out the public. one thing we know while the public is shut out of the negotiating process, private corporate interests aren't. industries are spending ginormous amounts of money to convince policy makers that more aggressive laws will lead to more innovation, creativity and jobs, but in reality that just isn't the case. internet users need to know what is going on in these secret trade negotiations. internet users have a right to participate in this powerful international deal that will impact millions of lives for decades to come. >> welcome back. we're unpacking the trans-pacific partnership.
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you just watched a clip from myra's organization about the impact the ttp could have on intellectual property. what is at risk here? >> based upon the leak of the intellectual property chapter that we saw from wikileaks. it revealed it carries tons of copyright restrictions that leads to users being censored and restricted on what they can do with their technology. one being intermedia liability which compels internet service providers, such as comcast and at&t, and websites like facebook and reddit to have liability over what their users post. so they will be legally
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compelled to enforce copyright. they will end up blocking content and suspending users accounts, so it will lead to users being silent and restricted on law. and another provision is digital rights manager, or digital restriction measures. what drm does is it has -- there are tools that supposedly protect users security wise or, you know, protect copyright on these devices but what they do is turn our devices and content into legal blocked boxes, so we don't know what is going on in our every day devices. we can't repair it ourselves, or install our own apps. it really restricts how we interact with these things. >> we contacted the office of the united states trade representative to ask about tpp
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and they provided us with this statement . . . bernard that is an interesting statement because it says it will benefit labor and environmental standards, yet unions and environmentalists are among the groups most opposed to tpp. i'm not sure how that clears. >> there are scare tactics being spread with regard to the tpp. it is american people and american citizens, artists, inventors, musicians who produce the intellectual property. it's the kinds of people who produce the iphones, those people who create, they have a right to have their intellectual property protected, and what the united states is aiming to do is be sure that the standards that are high and that are in place in the united states are the same standards that are going to be followed by countries like
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japan and singapore. singapore is an up and coming producer of intellectual property. one of the main goals of the tpp is set the same standards whether it's intellectual property or copyright in the more traditional sense, the notion that these things are being done in secret is a red herring, because there have been stakeholders at the meetings in australia, singapore, the united states, americans who want to go to the meetings, they sane up and participate in these meetings -- >> could i interject for a second. i have been to some of these negotiations -- and there is hardly any chance for us to engage. first of all we don't know what is in it besides these leaks. >> let me get some community in
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here . . . melinda i know you want to jump in here. you heard bernard. but a lot of people are saying it is going to help corporations at the expense of american workers. what is your response? >> i think it's important to look at the government's own data. we had two years of nafta, we were told there would be an expansion of jobs, 170,000 jobs a year would be promoted through nafta. just through 2004, the government's own data was a million jobs lost due to nafta. it was going to increase trade. yes, it might increase exports, but we have huge trade deficits with countries we have these trade agreements with, and we
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have seen a net loss of jobs, and most of those -- many have been in the manufacturing sector. they have been replaced by service sector jobs that do not have benefits. there has been an overall depression on u.s. wages because -- due to these types of agreements economists across the idealogical spectrum agree that these types of trade agreements have contributed to income inequality in the us. you expand trade but for whom? >> josh why don't you jump in on this. what makes you optimistic on the tpp front. >> i think the claim that nafta has lead to job loss, the data shows that is simply not correct. i want to jump in quickly on the environment bid and then we can talk a bit more broodly. we have to consider if we're
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talking about the u.s. or the [ inaudible ] perspective. because the u.s. has been [ inaudible ] when it comes to standards on labor and the environment, there is no other country that wants to do it except the united states, which makes sure that the environmental protections are not undermined, and in fact are often strengthed through these agreements, and it's often developing countries who push back. we're at a different stage of develop. and [ inaudible ] labor is something which makes our exports more competitive in your market. so if you think there should be stronger environmental and labor standards, then you would support the trade agreement from a development perspective you may not think they are appropriate for all countries, so it's a mixed bag here. >> i would just jump in on that that was a leak of the environment chapter that was fairly recent, and it is true
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the united states was pushing for stronger standards. every other country was lining up against the u.s., and the actual text of the agreement was going more towards the other countries' position, and while the u.s. claims to continue to push for that, that is definitely not going to be a done deal in the tpp negotiations. and the u.s. is pushing an investment chapster that would privilege foreign investors and allow them to attack environmental laws, and ask for cash compensation in millions of billions of dollars, and we have seen this happen under nafta already. and now foreign investors can attack local, state, or national laws that they believe affect their future profits even if that is an environmental standard, and then demand billions of dollars in in compensation through ran extra judicial tribunal where three
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private sector lawyers decide whether a corporation should get billions of dollars for a policy that effects them. >> let me jump in here quickly. one thing we need to be clear about, it's great that people are paying attention to the tpp. i think that's important. it's not all that dramatically new. all you need to do is look back at the free trade agreement the united states signed with korea. that is the most recent. the tpp will introduce some new innovations but it will be very similar. >> even the president - president -- [overlapping speakers] >> are pushing back a little bit. we're going to talk about that and the political implications when we come back.
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welcome back. we're talking about the massive free trade agreement known as the trans-pacific partnership. senator ron wideman has supported many free trade deals in the past, but here is what he had to say aboutt pp . . . bernard what does this say when members of the president's own party are pushing back on him like this? >> i think the most recent pushback came from center reid is nevada. and as tip o'neill famously said, all politics are local.
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senator reid is facing a fight in his own state of nevada, so he is asking for people to slow down and not push the tpp and the presidential authority too quickly. that's okay. i don't think there is a problem there. because we'll have time if the thing doesn't get resolved in 2014 it will be done the following year. let me say one more thing, because i think it's forgotten from an american perspective, four out of five jobs in the united states are in the services field. and those are not low-paying jobs. when you think about the guy that brings the packages to your house, that's a services job. when you think of people in telecommunications services, and distribution services those are all -- >> i don't disagree, but i want to get back to the politics. you have a lot of big guns out there, not just harry reid, but
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issa, and waxman -- >> and nancy pelosi yesterday. >> you have them lined up with very serious questions about this agreement. and i think that speaks volumes about the administration's judgment. >> i think the answer is people are fearful, because it is something that is new and more intensive, but i do agree strongly with what josh said. the agreement that was done with korea three, four years ago, the tpp is essentially on the same framework -- >> melinda. >> actually i think that's that's -- the korea free trade agreement is part of the reason why many democrats are lining up against the president on the tpp, because the data from the fist two years of the korea free trade agreement is actually our exports have declined to korea during that time period, and our trade deficit has increased, and it has been a net loss of
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approximately 40,000 jobs, so you see that model being expanded is not something that is actually going to be beneficial for the president in -- for the tpp, and this is a massive agreement. we have had agreements with smaller economies, but now we're talking about 40% of global economy being included in a trade agreement, and to have these extreme rules that allow -- give foreign investors greater rights than domestic investors, that impact our mon ollies of marge pharmaceutical companies, et cetera. >> josh we have about 20 seconds left. where is this thing headed? >> it will be finished probably in the first six months of this year. the democrats are pushing back -- this is simply about [ inaudible ] authority which is about how congress votes once is it done. nancy pelosi has said she supported the president's agenda. [ inaudible ]. >> thanks so all of our guests. until next time, you can find us
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